ARC Book Review: The Library Of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey

Book: The Library Of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey

Expected Publication Is October 8, 2019 by Inkyard Press|Expected Number Of Pages: 384 pages

Where I Got It: I received an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

From the moment she first learned to read, literary genius Darcy Wells has spent most of her time living in the worlds of her books. There, she can avoid the crushing reality of her mother’s hoarding and pretend her life is simply ordinary. But when a new property manager becomes more active in the upkeep of their apartment complex, the only home Darcy has ever known outside of her books suddenly hangs in the balance.

While Darcy is struggling to survive beneath the weight of her mother’s compulsive shopping, Asher Fleet, a former teen pilot with an unexpectedly shattered future, walks into the bookstore where she works…and straight into her heart. For the first time in her life, Darcy can’t seem to find the right words. Fairy tales are one thing, but real love makes her want to hide inside her carefully constructed ink-and-paper bomb shelter.

Still, after spending her whole life keeping people out, something about Asher makes Darcy want to open up. But securing her own happily-ever-after will mean she’ll need to stop hiding and start living her own truth—even if it’s messy.

I liked The Library Of Lost Things!  I wanted to like it more, which seems to be happening a lot lately, but I still liked it.

I loved that Darcy worked at a bookstore.  I really wanted the Yellow Feather to be a real bookstore that I could visit, but it seems to be just a fictional place.  Still, it felt like a living, breathing place that I could actually visit, and it very much felt like a character itself.  I could totally see it sharing a space with a wig shop, which was a character in and of itself, even though we don’t spend as much time there.  I definitely wanted to visit Mysterious Galaxy after reading this book.

I also liked how important books were to Darcy, and all of the books that were mentioned.  As a reader, I really liked that, and it made it fun to see what would be referenced or mentioned.

I really liked Darcy, who had to deal with a lot.  There’s a lot going on with her family, and with some of the family secrets that come out, I really felt for Darcy.  I can’t imagine trying to deal with a mom who hoards, or dealing with she learned about both her mom and her dad.  She had to be a lot more responsible than she needed or should have been, and I really hope she has a lot of carefree moments in her future.

I can see why she’s so closed off, and how hard it is for her to let people in.  I feel like I’d act the same way if I were her, but we do see that change over the course of the book.  It seems like things start to change with her mom and her grandma, and hopefully, they’re all able to work through everything.  It will take time, of course, but hopefully, they’re able to get to a better place someday.

3 stars.  I liked The Library Of Lost Things, but I didn’t love it.  I really liked the Yellow Feather and all of the book references.

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ARC Book Review: The Babysitter’s Coven by Kate Williams

Book: The Babysitter’s Coven by Kate Williams

Expected Publication Is September 17, 2019 by Delacorte Press|Expected Number Of Pages: 368

Where I Got It: I received an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: The Babysitter’s Coven #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed novel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil.

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria cooking. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.

I liked The Babysitter’s Coven but like a lot of the books I’ve read this year…I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

For some reason, the book felt like it should have been middle grade and not YA  I kept forgetting that the characters were around 17, and it would be interesting to see this book as a middle grade series.

I can’t speak to the comparisons to Buffy or Adventures In Babysitting, since I haven’t seen Buffy or Adventures In Babysitting.  I kept thinking about the Babysitter’s Club, though, if they were witches and trying to defend against demons and whatnot.

Esme wasn’t always my favorite character, and Cassandra wasn’t either, but maybe they’ll grow me, should I pick up the sequel.  I’m not sure if I will but we’ll see when the next one comes out.  I did like Janis, though.  And I did like the backstory for Esme’s mom.  It wasn’t what I was expecting but I did like it.  Pig was great too, and it’s so hard not to love.

I was expecting expecting babysitting to have more of a connection to the weird goings-on.  It would make a great cover but it didn’t go that way at all.  Still, it was fun to see what adventures they got themselves into, and I liked seeing them try to figure things out with pretty much no information.

I do wish they struggled a little more than they did, because things were pretty easy for both Esme and Cassandra.  They did figure things out pretty fast, and they seemed to do things really well after practicing a handful of times.  I think it would have made their achievements a lot more fun and it would have been a little easier to root for them.  But maybe that’s just me.

There was this 90’s teen movie vibe to it, which was fun.  Now that I think about it, I can totally see this book being a Disney channel series/original movie.  It would be pretty fun to watch, and it’s certainly light and fluffy enough to work well as a movie or tv show.

The outfits sounded pretty cool too, and that, more than anything, made me think of the outfits that Stacy and Claudia would wear in the BSC.  Which I now feel like reading, by the way.  A movie would bring the outfits to life, and it would be pretty cool to actually see the outfits.

3 stars.  I liked The Babysitter’s Coven, but I honestly thought it sounded younger than I expected.  It was a fun read but I had my issues with it too.

ARC Book Review: Sword And Pen by Rachel Caine

Book: Sword And Pen by Rachel Caine

Expected Publication Is September 3, 2019 by Berkley|Expected Number Of Pages: 368

Where I Got It: I received an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: The Great Library #5

Genre: YA Steampunk/Alternate History

With the future of the Great Library in doubt, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone must decide if it’s worth saving in this thrilling adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.

The corrupt leadership of the Great Library has fallen. But with the Archivist plotting his return to power, and the Library under siege from outside empires and kingdoms, its future is uncertain. Jess Brightwell and his friends must come together as never before, to forge a new future for the Great Library…or see everything it stood for crumble.

I absolutely loved Sword And Pen!  It was such a great read, and I’m sad to see this series end, but I’m also really glad to see how everything turned out.

This series is so worth reading, and ever since I started reading Ink And Bone years ago, I loved the series.  The world is amazing, and we see Jess and everyone else try to save the world they’ve lived in their entire lives.  They really are trying to make it a better place for everyone, and while we don’t see all of the changes that are bound to happen, I feel like the library is going to be in a very good place.

I can’t help but think that there will be a lot of really good changes but that there’s also going to be some trouble as well.  I feel like people are going to have trouble with this new library, especially at first, but hopefully things will calm down and be okay.

While I was reading Sword And Pen, I was wondering who was going to make it out alive.  There was no way everyone was going to survive, but that’s what I was hoping.  My hopes were dashed but in this world, I would have been surprised if everyone had survived.  With all of the battles and destruction, it just wasn’t going to happen.  And I think I would have been disappointed too, because I don’t think it would have been as realistic.

The characters were great, and I feel like, years from now, they’ll still be talking to each other.  That’s what I want for them.  I think they all have great things in store for them, and I wish we had some sort of epilogue that shows what happened several years later.  I can imagine, of course, which is fun but I also kind of want to know what Caine imagined for them.

I really liked Wolfe, Santi and Khalila in this book.  Khalila really came into her own in this book, and she’s had a really great story line throughout the whole series.  Wolfe and Santi were protective adoptive dads, and I felt like they saw all of the kids as their own.  Especially Jess.  They seemed especially protective of Jess, which is understandable after everything Jess has been through.  I can’t imagine losing a twin, and you really see how much it affected Jess.  I liked that you saw his grief and how he didn’t want to lose anyone else while also going after the old Archivist.

There’s a lot of action and destruction but there’s also a lot of hope, and I really liked it balanced it was.  I really felt like things would be okay at the end of the series.  Even though a lot of really terrible things happens to the characters, I also felt like they made it through okay.  There may be some wounds and scars for them, but they survived and made it through.

5 stars.  I loved this book, and the world and characters are amazing!  I’m sad to see this series end but I thought Sword And Pen did a great job at wrapping everything up.

ARC Book Review: American Royals by Katharine McGee

Book: American Royals by Katharine McGee

Expected Publication Is September 3, 2019 by Random House Books For Young Readers|Expected Number Of Pages: 448

Where I Got It: I received American Royals as an E-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: American Royals #1

Genre: YA Contemporary

What if America had a royal family? If you can’t get enough of Harry and Meghan or Kate and William, meet American princesses Beatrice and Samantha.

Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown. 
Two girls vying for the prince’s heart. 
This is the story of the American royals.

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren’t just any royals. They’re American.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.

The duty. The intrigue. The Crown. New York Times bestselling author Katharine McGee imagines an alternate version of the modern world, one where the glittering age of monarchies has not yet faded–and where love is still powerful enough to change the course of history.

At first, I wasn’t sure about American Royals, but I ended up really liking it!

It was a little hard to get into at first, and I think it’s because we’re getting to know 4 very different girls.  I’m always hesitant about multiple narrators, especially when it’s 3 or more, and this book had 4.  I was worried we wouldn’t get to know each girl and while we don’t know them really, really well, we still get a really good idea of who each girl is.

Beatrice and Samantha are very different girls, and I liked both of them.  I did have a pretty good understanding of who they were, and, in Samantha’s case, why she acted the way she did.  One thing that came to mind in some of their chapters was that the grass really is greener on the other side.

I don’t envy either girl but I really don’t envy Beatrice.  She’s under a lot of pressure, considering she’s going to be the first queen one day.  Samantha does have some more freedom than her sister, but it also means she doesn’t get the attention her sister does.

We also see Daphne, the prince’s ex, and Nina, who is Sam’s best friend.  I liked Nina and Daphne was ambitious but also horrible.  Daphne was definitely my least favorite character, but she really is willing to do anything to get Jefferson back.  She was interesting, I’ll give her that.  I don’t have as much to say about them but it will be interesting to see where their stories go in the next book.

The story is pretty predictable in a lot of ways, but I honestly didn’t care because the book is a pretty interesting What If.  It really makes you wonder how different America would be if we were a monarchy.  We get a little bit of history, and it seems to be a little bit different in the book.  Like, Russia still has a tsar.  That’s the biggest thing that’s different.  At least from what I can remember.  It seems like there’s a lot more monarchies in this world than there actually is in real life.

It makes me wonder how different history is, especially American history.  I had trouble keeping track of some of the kings and queens mentioned, and I hope there’s a family tree included in the final version.  There wasn’t in this book, and that’s just what I’m hoping for, so by no means is it actually going to be included.

Still, a little more background would be interesting to see.  I mean, how much would having a monarchy change America’s history.  Like, did we still have a Civil War?  Did slavery still exist, and at what point did it get abolished if it did?  I have so many questions, but I know it’s not going to get answered.  Still, we might get little bits of history, and I’m okay with that.

My Rating: 4 stars.  I didn’t love it, but I still really enjoyed it.  It was hard not to cry and I was definitely crying by the end of the book.

ARC Book Review: Wild Savage Stars by Kristina Perez

Book: Wild Savage Stars by Kristina Perez

Expected Publication Is August 27 2019 by Imprint|Expected Number Of Pages: 384 pages

Where I Got It: I received an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: Sweet Black Waves #2

Genre: YA

Inspired by the legend of Tristan and Iseult, Wild Savage Stars is the spellbinding sequel to Sweet Black Waves.

Branwen has a secret powerful enough to destroy two kingdoms.

Her ancient magic led to a terrible betrayal by both her best friend, the princess Essy, and her first love, Tristan. Now this same magic is changing Branwen. Adrift in a rival court, Branwen must hide the truth from the enemy king by protecting the lovers who broke her heart―and finds herself considering a darker path.

Not everyone wants the alliance with Branwen’s kingdom to succeed―peace is balanced on a knife’s edge, and her only chance may be to embrace the darkness within…

I really liked Wild Savage Stars!  It’s a great follow-up to Sweet Black Waves, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

This book picks up where the first book left off, and in this book, we see Essy and Branwen in Kernyv.  We spend quite a bit of time with Tristan’s family- especially Marc and Ruan.  Branwen’s relationship with Marc was particularly interesting, and I hope they’re able to move past everything.

I will say, though, that a lot of the characters have messy and complicated relationships with each other.  Branwen and Essy’s relationship has changed a lot as well, and there is one moment in particular that I’m really curious about.  I won’t give it away here, but it is a moment that really changes things between them.  There are a few things that change their relationship over the course of the book, and they all stand out, but this one really stands out, and I’m not sure why.

With those moments between Branwen and Essy, I did find myself wanting to see things from Essy’s point of view.  I would love to get inside her head, even for a chapter or two, just to see what’s going on in her head.

I really love the world, and I really felt immersed in it.  I don’t know what it is about this world but I really like it, and I can picture everything so clearly.  There’s just something about the world and the magic and the characters that keep me reading.  I would love to see this as a movie or tv show, especially if it focused on Branwen.

Something else I really like about this book is that it does focus on Branwen, and how she sees the story of Tristan and Isolde unfold.  It is great to see their story from someone else’s perspective, and I’m getting more interested to see how everything is going to end.  I’m assuming this series is going to be a trilogy, because the story is far from over, and I honestly can’t see how it’s going to be more than three books.

With the first book, I was a little concerned how the story would work over the course of a series, but I was worried about nothing.  Perez has broken up the story in books really, really well, and so far, the two books have ended in a pretty good place.  I want to keep reading, and even though they don’t end on cliffhangers, the endings are still really great endings that make me interested to see what will happen next.

4 stars.  I really liked Wild Savage Stars, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

ARC Book Review: Vow Of Thieves by Mary Pearson

Book: Vow Of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

Expected Publication Is August 6, 2019 by Henry Holt & Co|Expected Number Of Pages: 480 pages

Where I Got It: I received an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: Dances Of Thieves #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

Kazi and Jase have survived, stronger and more in love than ever. Their new life now lies before them―the Ballengers will be outlaws no longer, Tor’s Watch will be a kingdom, and the two of them will meet all challenges side by side, together at last.

But an ominous warning mars their journey back, and in their rush to return to Tor’s Watch, just outside the fortress walls, they are violently attacked and torn apart―and each is thrust into their own new hell.

Unsure whether the other is alive or dead, Kazi and Jase must keep their wits among their greatest enemies and unlikeliest allies. And all the while, Death watches and waits.

I really liked Vow Of Thieves!  I was really excited to get an ARC of it, and I liked it just as much as I thought I would.

I thought the story was great in this book.  I liked seeing what was going on with Kazi and Jase, and things were not easy for them in this book.  I wanted them to be okay, and there were times, especially at the beginning, where I thought things wouldn’t be okay.  Things turned out just fine, of course, and I’m glad it did.  They really deserve it after everything they’ve been through.

I really liked Kazi in this book and she’s such an amazing character.  She had some tough decisions to make, and I thought she handled things the best way she could.

As for Jase…I did like him a little bit more in this book than I did in the previous book.  He’s really trying to keep his family together and to protect his people.  I wanted him to be okay, but with everything that happens, it wasn’t easy for him.  Still, he was able to make his way back to his home and family, and with Kazi, they were able to do what they needed to do in order to get Tor’s Watch back to what it was before the attack.

I thought things were wrapped up really well.  I was wondering where the story was going to go, and we definitely found out in this book.  I’m sad it’s only a duology, because I really wanted more of this story and this world.  Even though things are wrapped up and this particular story is over, there’s room for a lot more story in this world.  With how the book ended, it makes me wonder what else is on the horizon.

Things may have been resolved in this book, but there’s a lot more that can happen.  I hope it doesn’t, but you never know.  I know I’ll be waiting to see if we’ll be getting more books in this world, and who it might focus on.  It is a great end to the series, and it was definitely a page-turner.

Like the previous book, it took a little bit to get into the book, but once I did, it was hard to stop reading.  This series, and the Remnant Chronicles, are worth reading.

4 stars.  I really liked Vow Of Thieves, and it’s a great end to a great series.

ARC Book Review: House Of Salt And Sorrows by Erin A Craig

Book: House Of Salt And Sorrows by Erin A Craig

Expected Publication is August 6, 2019 by Delacorte|Expected Number Of Pages: 416

Where I Got It: I received an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next. 

I liked House Of Salt And Sorrows!  Not as much as I thought I would but I still liked it.

It very much reminded me of the tale of the 12 Dancing Princesses.  I don’t know if it’s a re-telling of that story, because I couldn’t find actual confirmation that this is the case.  Either way, I liked that they were cursed, and the reason behind what was happening to Annaleigh’s sisters was interesting.

I don’t know how I feel about Annaleigh.  She seems to be the only one who knows what’s going on, which doesn’t surprise me.  Considering how things go, and what’s really going on, it’s not surprising.  I hope things work out for Annaleigh and her sisters, and it seems like things end in a pretty good place for them.  Hopefully, nothing horrible happens to them, and they can all live happily ever after.

I wish we got more with her sisters, but with so many of them, it’s not a surprise.  You get a pretty good sense of the world they’re living in, and how suffocating it is to be in mourning all the time.  You see what people think of them, and how hard it is for them to move past it and move on with their lives.

The setting is pretty haunting and very gothic.  I mentioned how suffocating it was for them.  You definitely feel all of that throughout the book, and how hard it was for Annaleigh when her father decided days after another funeral that they were no longer going to be in mourning.

I’m not sure what else to say about House Of Salt And Sorrows.  I liked the world and the setting but I wasn’t in love with the characters.

3 stars.  I liked House Of Salt And Sorrows but I didn’t love it.

ARC Book Review: Spin The Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Book: Spin The Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Expected Publication Is July 30, 2019 by Knopf Books For Young Readers|Expected Number Of Pages: 400

Where I Got It: I got an e-ARC of Spin The Dawn from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own

Series: The Blood Of Stars #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.  

I ended up really liking Spin The Stars!  I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I’m glad I kept reading.

The description of Project Runway meets Mulan had me a little nervous.  I’ve never watched Project Runway but I do know what it is, and Project Runway meets Mulan isn’t a horrible description.  Once a tailor was chosen, though, it felt like that aspect was pretty much gone.

I would love to see the dresses and everything else Maia came up with.  Honestly, this is one book I would love to see as a movie, for the clothes alone.  Or for when Maia is working on her final three dresses.  That part of the book was really vivid, and I could imagine it really well.

The book went in a completely different direction than I thought it would, and that’s actually a good thing!  It kept me interested because I didn’t know what was going to happen next.

I really liked Maia!  She seemed really good at tailoring, and while she does have a lot of obstacles, she more than proves she’s worthy of being a master tailor.  I will say, though, the romance I wasn’t completely into.  I wasn’t surprised by it, and had a feeling things would work out the way they did.  It was fine, and it worked, I suppose, but I think I would have been just as fine without it.

I also really loved how the title fit in with the book.  It’s referenced several times throughout the book, mostly at the end, and I don’t know why but I really liked the moment when the title made sense.  It was really nice to see, and I’m not sure why.

4 stars.  I really liked Spin The Dawn, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

ARC Book Review: Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Book: Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Expected Publication Is May 7, 2019 by Farrar, Straus, And Giroux|Expected Number Of Pages: 320 pages

Where I Got It: I received an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

10 00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she’s just performed her hit song “Heartbeat” in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She’s about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She’s in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.

11 00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is single-mindedly determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She’s very cute. He’s maybe curious.

12:00 a.m.: Nothing will ever be the same.

I really liked Somewhere Only We Know!  I swear, Goo writes the cutest books, and this one was no exception.

I will say, it took me a while to get into it.  Jack and Lucky both narrate, and I think that’s why I had a hard time with the book at first.  It was hard to get into each character, but as the book went on, I got more settled into things, and I ended up really enjoyed the story.

It happens over a pretty short period of time, and it’s quite the adventure for both Jack and Lucky.  There really isn’t a lot of romance- it’s more hinted at than anything else, and while father-daughter relationships are pretty important in her other books, it’s not something we see in this book.  It has the same feel as her other books but it doesn’t have some of the same elements I’ve seen from her.  Still, it was really fun and really cute, and I really liked seeing them explore Hong Kong together.

The Sun Is Also A Star is a pretty good read-alike for this one, in the sense that it’s the one-day romance where they’ll never see each other again…or find each other years later as adults.  Even though we get an epilogue, and see what happens after the events of the book, part of me wonders how things worked for both Lucky and Jack.  Romantically, of course, but also in their personal lives.

As for Jack and Lucky, I really liked Lucky but I was not a fan of Jack.  I think having his perspective really hurt, because we see and know things Lucky does not.  It made it really hard to like him and even though we see him change, it was really hard to get behind it knowing what we, as readers, know.

4 stars.  I really liked it, and it’s a cute book.  I wasn’t a fan of Jack, but I really liked Lucky.  I also wish I had more to say about this book, but I don’t.  It’s definitely worth reading, especially if you like K-Pop.

ARC Book Review: A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Book: A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Published January 2019 by Bloomsbury YA|489 pages

Where I Got It: I got an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: A Curse So Dark And Lonely #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse. 

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom. 

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

I was really intrigued by this book when I saw it on Netgalley, and I knew I had to request it.  Unfortunately, it was just okay for me, and I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

I had a really hard time getting into it, especially at the beginning.  It was about a quarter of the way in that I started to like the story a little more.  The dual POV didn’t work for me, and it was hard to tell who was narrating because Rhen and Harper’s chapters were really similar, and they sounded pretty much the same to me.  I could only read a few chapters at a time before needing to put it down.  I just really struggled with it.

I think a lot of my struggles with A Curse So Dark And Lonely come from me being bored.  I really liked the idea of a modern day re-telling where Belle ends up in a magical land to break the curse.  It just took a while to get there.  I couldn’t completely root for Rhen and Harper, and I felt like they had no chemistry.  I had a hard time with the fact that they basically abducted girls, hoping they would be the one to break the curse.  And for a while, it seemed like she would end up falling for Grey.  I was surprised it didn’t go that way.

Speaking of Grey, I was surprised by everything that happened with him at the end of the book.  I know there’s a sequel, and while I don’t think I’ll pick it up, I am curious to see where things go for him.  It’s strange, because this book read like a stand-alone, but with how things ended, there is room for more story.

I wish we had more of Harper’s life before Emberfall.  All we really know about her is that her mom’s dying of cancer, her dad’s not in the picture, and her brother has taken up her dad’s work because of the debt he left them in.  I honestly couldn’t tell you anything else about her and her life.  Still, it was interesting to see her get settled into life at Emberfall.

It did get a lot more exciting at the end, and it was nice to actually have some action, as opposed to all of the traveling that happens in the book.  I don’t mind a bit of traveling but I needed something to break it up a little bit.  It was too bad we didn’t get more of it throughout the rest of the book.

2 stars.  I liked Grey, and Harper was a really thoughtful, kind character but I really struggled to get through it.  It’s a cool take on Beauty And The Beast, though.